25 years ago on a beautiful August day I was riding in the backseat of my parents car on our way to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula when news came on the radio of a plane crash in Detroit. Northwestern Flight 255 had 155 people on board when the accident happened. There was one sole survivor. A 4 year old little girl who had been identified as Cecilia.
You can imagine as a child the thoughts that ran through my head. How could this one small little girl have survived all that chaos? What would she do without her immediate family. How would she live the rest of her life without them? I wondered what miracles really meant, did they really exist and if this was one of them.
Shortly after the news the radio started playing Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecilia. I was familiar with the song as my stepfather listened to it all the time. But from that day forward that song cemented the memories of that crash, the little girl, and that day into my head.
Skip forward, 10 years ago when I was in Norway. I came across the name Silje. I was immediately drawn to the name. It was so beautiful & unique. My then boyfriend (now husband) and I talked about the name & decided if we ever had a baby together that would be her name. You know, just those silly things you talk about when you’re first in love & everything is wonderful.
When I found out that my 3rd and final child would be born a girl naturally the first thing that popped into my mind was the name Silje. I decided to research it more. I discovered it was the Norwegian form of Cecilia & St. Cecilia was the patron saint of musicians. Perfect. My husband (a musician) and I met in a music chat room online more than 10 years ago. What name could be more appropriate. Then slowly as I pondered it, that day 25 years ago came back to my memory. Cecilia. That beautiful little child that was such a miracle. The name Silje was perfect. It was a special name for so many reasons. It would be my daughters name.
On June 8th, 2012 my first and only daughter was born. Her & I almost didn’t make it. Upon arrival at the hospital I was told I was 8cm dilated. My biggest worry? Would I get an epidural in time. My Dr. dressed quickly & they rushed me to a delivery room within seconds. I was told to push if I wanted. While I was pushing the Dr. placed his hand inside to inspect me & out gushed the waters, filled with meconium. This had happened in my last birth so I knew I would still be able to have her vaginally, but within 2 seconds that all changed. The Dr.’s face told all. What would be a quick delivery just turned in to an emergency. Her cord had prolapsed. It came out before she did. This creates a risk that when the baby exists the birth canal the head can compress the cord and cut off oxygen to the baby. It’s a fairly rare occurrence.
The next few moments went by in a whirl as my Dr. jumped on the bed riding along with me to the O.R. with his hand literally stuck inside of me. An emergency C-section was imminent. I started to get scared as we entered the room and people surrounded me. I was all alone in a room full of strangers. 18 of them! As I cried out the staff was there to hold my hand and comfort me. The anesthesiologist told me I’d be ok and then I finally went to sleep.
When I woke up I was in recovery & my baby was nowhere to be found. I honestly didn’t even remember what had happened. I was on dilaudid so I was completely out of it. All I wanted was my baby. They told me she had come out 11 lbs 12 oz & from the time I got in that room to the time everything was over. 13 minutes. At that moment everything started flooding into my mind. Had we stayed at home even 10 minutes later her and I wouldn’t have made it. She was NOT coming out of that birth canal easily. She was just as big as I had feared. I also learned that I lost a lot of blood. I hemorrhaged and had to have a transfusion. 10 minutes later… we never would have made it. My boys would be motherless & my beautiful daughter wouldn’t exist.
After I was out of recovery and was able to see my little girl, who was in the NICU at the time I went back to my room and I thought about a lot of things. Why was life going the way it was. Why when I was so happy and so lucky were other aspects of my life falling apart. I mostly thought about how lucky I was to be here for all of my children, whom I love with all of my heart. Just days prior I had been in my bed crying and wondering if “God” or the universe, or even my grandmother, who passed 2 short years ago were really ever looking out for me. I felt extremely alone, judged for a lot of things that were happening in my life, such as having Silje when my marriage is not going very well at all. I was wondering why I had to endure all of this & were things ever going to get better. I actually thought for a moment maybe there really is no afterlife, maybe there really are no angels, no loved ones to greet you when you pass, no anything. Maybe this is all there is.
When we left the hospital I sat down in my mom’s car & I stared ahead, wondering how things would go once I got home. I glanced over to the screen on her radio, which had been turned down and there I saw “Simon & Garfunkel – Cecilia”. It was then that I knew there is someone watching over us.. and my baby girl was meant to be. Everything that has happened thus far in my life was meant to be. Good & bad it has all led me here to where I am. Although times are tough, I will NEVER question the fact that some things really do happen for a reason. I have been extremely blessed to have 3 beautiful little children that love me unconditionally & whom I love unconditionally. Every day I look at them I am thankful for all that I have. And that question I had 25 years ago as a little girl about if miracles really do exist? Well I finally have my answer. They do.